Author Topic: Bio in a query letter?  (Read 368 times)

Offline Smellerby

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Bio in a query letter?
« on: April 08, 2020, 06:27:28 PM »
How the heck does one write a bio into a query when you have no writing credentials? I need some tips. Every time I try and write a bio into my query it just seems like a waste of words. I'm not saying anything relevant or worth saying. I'm just adding it cause I feel like I have to? How do you handle writing a bio?

Offline jcwrites

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Re: Bio in a query letter?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2020, 07:07:00 PM »
• If you have paid writing credits, include them. Otherwise, not.
• If you have self-published a novel that has sold several thousand copies (not giveaways), include it. Otherwise, not.
• If you have won a recognized writing award (e.g., the Pulitzer), include it. Otherwise, not.
• If you have a degree and/or life experience that relates directly to your novel (e.g., you've written about time travel and you are a time traveler), include it. Otherwise, not.
• If you have a marketable social presence related to your work (e.g., your nonfiction is about the mysterious disappearance of the world's largest model train layout, and you are followed by five million model train enthusiasts) include it. Otherwise, not.
• If you are world famous for any reason whatsoever, include it. (There is no otherwise on this one.)
• If you have none of the above, leave the bio blank. As in skip it.

Hope this helps.

Offline Smellerby

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Re: Bio in a query letter?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2020, 08:29:22 PM »
It does a little. Thank you for your response.

But the thing is, I tried to skip it because I don't really have any of those things, and then an agent did a critique of my query letter and told me I needed one.

So now I am racking my brain trying to come up with something to put down.

Maybe I will skip it anyway since no matter what I write it just seems like nonsense. I do have relevant life experience but it feels indirect.

It just seems stupid to ignore advice given to me by an actual agent.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 08:33:12 PM by Smellerby »

Offline JeanneG

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    • Jeanne Lyet Gassman
Re: Bio in a query letter?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2020, 11:08:28 PM »
You could also include in your bio information about writing classes you have taken, writing-related degrees, people you've studied with (if they're famous), conferences you've attended, critique groups you belong to, or workshops you've participated in. What they want to see is that you are serious about writing as a career, that you are interested in learning both the craft and business of writing.

And, it depends on your genre, so if you write historical fiction, for example, you could mention some of your research or related experience. If you write SF, same thing. What is your background/education/experience that would give you insight and knowledge into your story? If you write fantasy, do you have a particular knowledge of the worlds you've created? Think Tolkein. He was a classical scholar and used his knowledge of ancient languages and cultures to create Lord of the Rings.

They don't need much for a bio. Just something that illustrates your passion and dedication to your subject.

Hope that helps.

JeanneG
Debut novel, BLOOD OF A STONE (Tuscany Press) released in March 2015; winner of IPPY in national category of religious fiction and currently a finalist for IAN Book of the Year. My work-in-progress: THE DOUBLE SUN.
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JeanneLyetGassman
Twitter: @JLyetGassman

Offline TigerAsh

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Re: Bio in a query letter?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2020, 08:53:22 AM »
For the bio, writing credentials and publishing history are most important to include.

However, if you don't have any of that, it's okay to just include a sentence about your life.

For example:

"I live with my husband and three dogs on the sandy beaches of Honolulu, Hawaii."

Or

"I am a political science major at Michigan State who enjoys playing the violin when she isn't writing or studying."


Basically, just write something brief to show you are a human being.  :)





Offline Smellerby

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Re: Bio in a query letter?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2020, 10:51:27 AM »
Thanks for your responses. I think I got an idea of what I want to say.  :)